By Sofia Brizio
★ ★ ★ ★
As a die-hard fan of the film adaptation of this Broadway masterpiece, I had been dreaming of seeing Chicago live for years. So when the Kinetic School of Performing Arts invited me to review their production at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, I immediately thought it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. And after last night, I can confidently say you won’t want to miss it either.
The Kinetic School of Performing Arts is a non-profit theatre company featuring young performers aged 16 to 28. Founded in 2013 and directed by Kris Crowley, Emma Pawsey and Liz York, Kinetic aims to “equip performers with the skills and experiences needed to enter the performing arts industry with the ethos of training whilst performing”. This was my first time seeing one of their productions and it certainly won’t be the last.
The star of the show for me was Zoe Martin, who made the character of Velma Kelly her own and made me love it even more. She stole my heart since the first few notes of All That Jazz, with perfect vocals and impeccable dance moves. With her sassiness and witty lines, every time she wasn’t on stage I couldn’t wait for her to come on again. The same goes for Harri Herniman, who delivered a funny and confident rendition of Billy Flynn. His performance of We Both Reached for the Gun with Roxie Hart (Georgia Tonge) was one of the highlights of the night. As for Tonge’s Roxie, I found that her acting wasn’t the strongest and she could have used a bit more passion in some of the dialogues. Nevertheless, her performances of Funny Honey and Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag were phenomenal and her vocals unforgettable. I was also blown away by Rhian Holmes playing Matron ‘Mama’ Morton. Her confidence and talent in both acting and singing were such that I was unable to take my eyes off her for the entirety of the show.
But Amos Hart (Taylor Morris) and Mary Sunshine (Tom Price) were by far the most impressive characters. Possibly the youngest member of the cast, 17-year-old Taylor Morris made me sympathise with Amos Hart in a way I never did with the character in the film. His rendition of Mr. Cellophane is one that I’m sure I’ll never forget. Countertenor Tom Price made for a hilarious Mary Sunshine. Price’s stunning voice and acting skills made me fall in love with a character I never thought I could appreciate as much as I do now.
Finally, Cell Block Tango was by far my favourite number and the one that really showcased the talent of the young performers at Kinetic. They had me singing and cheering, and the show went by in what felt like only a few minutes. For a production in such a small venue as the Richard Burton Theatre, the costumes and props were impressive and were the icing on the cake to an overall amazing production. Although their acting wasn’t the best at all times, I am in awe of these young performers and their talent in putting on such an intricate show as Chicago. If you’re looking for a fun night in Cardiff, definitely go see them. I can’t wait to find out what the future holds for them!